Half of the Pac-12’s four remaining teams defected Friday as Stanford and Cal, along with Southern Methodist, accepted invitations to the Atlantic Coast Conference.
There will be plenty of challenges ahead for the Bay Area schools, which will join the Charlotte-based league beginning in the 2024-25 school year. The biggest issue on the table is travel back and forth to a conference where the nearest school prior to Friday was Louisville. (Now, that title will belong to SMU, which is based in Dallas.)
The ACC on Friday outlined some plans to mitigate that issue, including the possibility of hosting a number of neutral-site events at the Texas school.
Another significant hurdle facing Cal in particular is the financial component of all this travel, especially considering that the Bears and Cardinal will be giving back some media revenue (the amount will diminish over the years) to the ACC as part of their agreement. The so-called Berkeley tax that would force UCLA to subsidize Cal (approved by regents after the Bruins agreed last year to flee to the Big Ten) could help cover for a department that is already on a tight budget.
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Meanwhile, the two schools left behind in the Pac-12, Washington State and Oregon State, have finally seen their nightmare scenario come to fruition a month after the conference’s Black Friday, which saw Oregon and Washington join the Big Ten, leading the Four Corners schools to join the Big 12.
Pac-12 Hotline reporter Jon Wilner broke the news that UCLA and USC were leaving the Pac-12 to join the Big Ten, moves that triggered additional departures and the collapse of a league founded more than a century ago.